2012 NFL Draft: Pre-Combine Thoughts From Mike Mayock

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock held a conference call Thursday to discuss 2012 draft prospects in advance of next week's Scouting Combine. I thought I would share some tidbits from the call that might be of interest.

On Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who seems unlikely to fall to the Giants at 32:

"I think he's the best inside linebacker in this draft by far. He's a natural three-year junior. He's got more production
than you could imagine. He's never been hurt. He's got no significant injuries. He's clean off the field, intelligent. He's got great instincts, and he's a better athlete than people think."

On Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict:

"I'm not a fan at all. ... I just watched a bunch of his tape the other day, and I said forget the penalties and
all is that stuff that surrounds him. What kind of football player is he? And I came away unimpressed. ... his instincts aren't good. He gets enveloped by big bodies. He runs around end blocks. For a big, strong guy, he's nowhere near as good at the point of attack as I thought he would be."

On Virginia Tech running back David Wilson, who might be available for the Giants:

"He's interesting. There are some people that think he could be a first round pick. I probably did four games of his last week. I think he's really quick with great feet and balance. I think he's kind of a downhill one-cut guy, which is atypical for his size. He doesn't have quite as much shake and bake and make you miss. But his feet are so good, and his quickness in short areas is so good. He makes you miss anyway. What I like about him is his burst,
acceleration, and balance. I have him as a second-round guy."

On the importance of the Combine:

What I always say is fast guys run fast, and slow guys run slow. It's not a story when that happens. But when a fastguy runs slow or a slow guy runs fast, now you've got to figure out why.

What I look at and what the smart teams look at is when you see a 4.32 that a wide receiver runs that you thought was a 4.45 guy on tape, for instance, okay, that's a cross check. You have to go back and find out whether or not this kid is
really that fast on tape, or is it manufactured speed that he got from some training camp where he learned how to start and do all those things, but he's still the same guy.

I think that's where the trap is. We start to fall in love with all the numbers ... the bottom line to me is that each component in this process has to be taken on its own merits, and it can't be the leader of the process. The leader always has to be the college production and the tape.

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